Five Days Gone: The Mystery of My Mother's Disappearance as a Child

Five Days Gone: The Mystery of My Mother's Disappearance as a Child

Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Velazquez Laura Cumming shares the riveting story of her mother?s mysterious kidnapping as a toddler in a small English coastal village?and how that event reverberated through her own family and her art for decades. In the fall of 1929, when Laura Cumming?s mother was three years old, she was kidnapped from a bea Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Velazquez Laura Cumming shares the riveting story o...

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Title:Five Days Gone: The Mystery of My Mother's Disappearance as a Child
Author:Laura Cumming
Rating:
Genres:Nonfiction
ISBN:On Chapel Sands: My Mother and Other Missing Persons
ISBN
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:320 pages pages

Five Days Gone: The Mystery of My Mother's Disappearance as a Child Reviews

  • Michele
    Sep 19, 2019
    What particularly stood out for me in this memoir was the analysis and consideration of the photographs and paintings. Unsurprising in that the author is an art critic. I do wish the reproductions of these had been better, which to me is strange given the author's profession. As a tes...
  • Melissa
    Aug 27, 2019
    I can't grade this down too much for not being what I expected, but it definitely wasn't. From the description and the title, it seems as if it will be a delving into the mystery of Cumming's mother's disappearance as a child. And it is...but it also isn't. It's a beautifully written ...
  • Laura
    Jun 24, 2019
    From BBC radio 4 - Book of the week: In her new book, the art critic Laura Cumming unravels the mystery of her mother's disappearance one day in late 1929. Five days went by before she was found unharmed, but she remembered nothing of these events and the silence about what happened r...
  • Jane
    Aug 21, 2019
    This account of the uncovering of the past that was hidden to the author?s mother for much of her life has been much lauded, and I can only add to the chorus of praise. I loved the writing, the delicate unraveling of the mystery, the importance given to images, and the illumination o...
  • Jacki (Julia Flyte)
    Oct 12, 2019
    This is a memoir about the author's mother, Betty, who was born in Lincolnshire in 1926. At the age of 3 she was on the beach (Chapel Sands) with her mother when she was abducted by an unknown individual. It was 6 days until she returned home. No one spoke of this again and Betty herse...
  • Börkur Sigurbjörnsson
    Aug 08, 2019
    The art critic tells the story of her mother almost as if it were a painting. First, the plot is sketched, roughly. Then the details are added little by little, moving back and forth over different parts of the canvas. From time to time, parts of the plot are re-worked as needed by the...
  • Clancy
    Sep 14, 2019
    The story sounded more interesting when I heard the author interviewed on NPR. Unfortunately, the book rambled with endless and tedious art history tangents that did not move the story along at all. Towards the end, it was just a slog to get through it in the hopes that the resolution ...
  • Diane S ☔
    Oct 09, 2019
    3.5 A mother and daughter search for answers in this unusual memoir. Family, art and the quest for identity are major themes as a set of photographs are the impetus that leads the daughter to try to track down the mystery of her mother's life. A family story with a mystery at the heart...
  • Maura Heaphy Dutton
    Sep 03, 2019
    A fascinating family memoir, intensely moving in the way it captures a lost past. Laura Cummings, as a late-life gift to her beloved mother, has drawn together the threads of the story of her mother's birth and up-bringing, a story so bizarre and emotionally convoluted that it could...
  • Paul
    Oct 17, 2019
    This book has its origins and setting in Chapel St Leonards, a village on the Lincolnshire coast. Being a Lincolnshire lad I therefore had to read this. Laura Cummings?s mother was brought up there and Cummings has set out to piece together her mother?s upbringing. Her mother was b...
  • Susan
    Oct 11, 2019
    This is a moving memoir, by Laura Cumming, about her mother?s early life. Her mother, Elizabeth, was known as Betty as a child, but, before that, she was Grace. She lived in a seaside village, Chapel St Leonards, where, one day in 1929, she was abducted from the beach. One moment she...
  • Rebecca
    Aug 22, 2019
    One for readers of The Hare with Amber Eyes (Edmund de Waal) and Rosie (Rose Tremain): a family memoir whose tone of emotional detachment is in keeping with the mores of the time it writes about. Cumming?s mother, Betty, was raised by adoptive parents, George and Veda Elston. But in ...
  • Mary Arkless
    Sep 27, 2019
    Borrowed from the library. As I have a cold and was feeling rather sorry for myself, I read the book in one day. This is a writing style that captures me and doesn't want to let me go. Also, the author was good at hinting at further unravelling of the mystery, so that I wanted to ca...
  • Trish
    Jul 27, 2019
    An interesting and detailed family history, it?s fascinating to learn how Laura and her mother gradually discovered her mother?s origins. There is a tendency to imagine the thought processes and emotions of ancestors that she couldn?t know - I do the same thing myself, but in thi...
  • Ingrid
    Oct 04, 2019
    The author painted a beautiful picture of her mother's life and times. As I pictured this little girl I wish I could have taken her in my arms, she had such a hard life. While reading I realised was not so very different from my own mother's life story. It also occurred to me that pr...
  • Valerity (Val)
    Jul 31, 2019
    She started out her life as Grace until she was adopted before age 3, then she was Betty. A name she never liked. Later she called herself Elizabeth. An older couple adopted her at age 3, George and Veda Elston. She grew to dislike George, who was controlling and didn?t want her ming...
  • Caitlin
    Sep 28, 2019
    I heard about this book on NPR, and it sounded so compelling that I immediately acquired a copy. There is too much book for the story. I almost immediately guessed the kernel of the story, and although the NPR piece had set me up for a big surprise at the end, none came--what I had alr...
  • Janilyn Kocher
    Jul 07, 2019
    I love family mysteries. Five Days Gone unravels the layers of secrets revolving around the author's mother, Betty, who originally was called Grace. One day she disappeared from the beach, only to turn up a few days later. Most of the local villagers knew the truth about the incident a...
  • Penny
    Aug 13, 2019
    Enjoyed reading this and it's just about a 4 star book, but the more I think about it the more I'm not sure there's enough of a story here to warrant a full book. The sense of place is beautifully drawn - I know the area of Lincolnshire described. However, there's an awful lot or rep...
  • Millicent
    Sep 21, 2019
    I really enjoyed this book. It's a beautifully written story of a complicated family, a daughter exploring the mystery at the heart of her mother's life. The book is structured in an almost circular way as initial understandings are reconsidered and new information is available. The au...
  • Mairi Byatt
    Jul 31, 2019
    I have been so moved by this stunning novel, also learnt so much about art, and given me an appreciation I have never known before. I was actually at school with Laura for 12 years and always liked her but never really got to know her - my loss! I could have known one of the most emoti...
  • Sherrie
    Oct 18, 2019
    Written well, but very slow to develop and much too long. The actual story of the kidnap of the author's mother doesn't really need a book this long and the chapter where all is revealed is almost at the end. ...
  • Beata
    Sep 27, 2019
    Laura Cumming found the inspiration to write this memoir in a story of a 3-year-old girl who was abducted in 1929 from a beach, and was found safe and sound after five days. This story had a happy end, even a double one, as the little girl had no memories of the event as she grew older...
  • Richard Allen
    Aug 29, 2019
    I heard about this book via twitter ? which is an increasingly great place to discover books old and new and interesting writers. It sounded intriguing so reserved a copy at the library which turned into a bit of a bun fight as everyone seemed to want it. Anyway, it is genuinely bril...
  • Etta Madden
    Oct 20, 2019
    A new spin on memoir--neither a straight mystery, as the title suggests, nor an adopted child trying to reunite with a long-lost parent, but a poignant and imaginative exploration of two generations' past. Cumming's careful rendering of saved photos, letters, journals and memorabilia r...
  • Anne
    Jul 13, 2019
    This is a fascinating story. A true story told by Laura Cumming the author, as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her mother's past. In 1929 a mother and small child enjoy an afternoon on a beach, Chapel beach in Lincolnshire. Suddenly in a moment the child is gone, kidnappe...
  • Bookish Chat
    Sep 04, 2019
    This book was on my radar for a good while before it was published. I found the premise of a small child being kidnapped from a beach in the late 1920's and not having any memory of this event, extremely intriguing. As most of you are aware, I don't naturally gravitate towards non-...
  • Lisa Masini
    Sep 12, 2019
    I was disappointed in this book. I read it on my husband's recommendation as he'd heard it profiled on NPR. Basically the author prolonged the true story of her mother's kidnapping as a child to make a book out of what could have been a simple news story. The book seems to consist of a...
  • Andrew Howdle
    Sep 12, 2019
    Sometimes blurbs do books a disservice and that fact applies here. The marketting of On Chapel Sands plays into our lurid imaginations: a child is kidnapped and goes missing for three days... child abuse, crime, terror? This appears to be the source of frustration felt by some Goodread...
  • Janet Burns
    Jul 05, 2019
    Enjoying the mystery of Betty in this book but it has been spoilt by the episode where the Grammar school girl, born in 1929, was able to have a polio vaccination, whereas I was born in 1941 and was among the first tranche of teenagers to be given the new vaccine in 1955. An irritation...